How NOT to Learn English: 5 Common Mistakes

Tablets of irregular verbs, words on cards, adapted books by Frank, language learning apps - anyone who has studied English may have encountered these methods. Unfortunately, may of these techniques are not effective.

Now, let's talk about ways to avoid common English learning mistakes.  And better approaches to take to make the process of learning English as effective as possible.

Common mistakes in learning English‍

Mistake 1. Memorize word lists

An extremely popular but ineffective practice that has been practiced by many - from school teachers to "experts" in English language learning communities.

Surely the school teacher has repeatedly given you a long list of new words that you need to memorize for the next lesson. Or maybe you yourself reposted such lists on your wall. And then reproached yourself for not having time to sit down and memorize it. Good news: it’s better not to do this at all.

It is useless to remember words separately from the context. he probability that a word from the list will pop up in your head at the right time is minimal.

Do this instead:

‍Learn words in context. Make and write a sentence with each new word. It is desirable that the sentence evoke a vivid association. 

‍Mistake 2. Trying to understand every English word

When reading or listening to the English, coming across   unfamiliar words and phrases will inevitably occur. A common practice among beginners is to stop and try to translate every word.

This actually slows down learning. Instead of moving forward with English learning, you get stuck on words you do not understand.  Learning is not longer taking place.

Do this instead:

Try to catch the general meaning. Do not let yourself concentrate on unfamiliar words.  It is unrealistic to know all words (even native speakers of English do not know this). It is much more important to be able to understand the essence. If the word does not impede the understanding of the meaning, move on. The mechanics are similar to how small children learn their native language. They immediately learn to understand the whole phrase, without focusing on the meaning of individual words.

‍Mistake 3. Search for “quick and easy” English “in 2 hours”

Often on the Internet, you can find attractive ads in which you are promised brilliant English proficiency in record time. This is another example of how you do not need to learn English.

‍Be realistic - it is impossible to speak a foreign language at a good level in a very short period oftime. If a school or tutor promises you that, alas, this is a marketing ploy.

Do this instead:

‍Enjoy the process. It's not about speed, but quality. Learning English, like any foreign language, can be fun and exciting. To improve the effectiveness of the learning process, experts recommend linking the study of English with other interests. For example, with cooking or watching tv.

For instance, if you like to cook, keep a cookbook in English. When adding ingredients to a salad, call them in English.

Mistake 4. No English Learning Routine

You are probably familiar with the following situation: all week you could not sit down for textbooks, but on Sunday you pored over them for 4 hours in a row.  Or, you didn’t find time for classes for a month, but decide to cram at the last minute.

‍The effectiveness studying English this way is very low. After four hours of the same type of activity, concentration and working capacity are reduced.

Do this instead:

Establish a routine. It is better to do every day for 20 minutes than once a week for 4 hours. You will spend less time in total, but the results will be much better. 

Try to incorporate English into everyday life. For example, you can change the interface language on the phone or arrange days of the English language to overcome the conversational barrier.

‍Error 5. Constantly translating English into your native language

Many beginners create list of unknown words by writing the English word and its translation into their native language. This is the wrong approach to learning English.

‍You will constantly translate phrases in your head and spend more time trying to find the right equivalent. To make matter worse, there are many English that cannot be easily translated.  This approach will only lead to frustration.

Do this instead:

‍Learn to think in English, not translate. It is better to write the meaning of an unfamiliar expression than translate it. Knowing the English definition, you will understand what the word means (even if you do not remember its translation) and will be able to convey your thoughts faster.

To master English at a high level, you need to learn to think like a native speaker of English. To do this, you need to learn not only the grammar and other aspects of the language, but also the most effective ways to study English.

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